Let’s start with takeoff. Quite often, flight costs are the biggest factor when we book a holiday, which is why destinations like London are often at the top of our weekend break lists. But spending a little more on your flight can save you more on the ground, especially once you land in some of Europe’s most affordable city break destinations. Bratislava, Vilnius and Athens are great city break options where you could save a hundred or two on hotel, rates and meals. For a shorter trip, Lisbon has almost become the new London for Irish holidaymakers as one of the best holidays in the EU – you won’t even have to change your watch.
For a nation that loves the Mediterranean so much, I am often surprised at how many travelers have never visited Morocco or Turkey. Morocco regularly offers some of the most affordable package holiday deals on the market – Sunway currently offers three night deals with Agadir from €252! Spend your excess budget on trips to the Atlas Mountains, trips to the Sahara Desert, or just sipping cocktails overlooking the Atlantic.
For another option, the Turkish lira has halved since before the pandemic, so consider areas like the Bodrum Peninsula or Istanbul for a cheap break.
Does your matching Louis Vuitton suitcase set seem a bit redundant these days? Checked baggage is becoming increasingly outdated these days as travelers seek to save time and money and the availability of cheaper designer goods online, avoiding loading at New Outlets. York.
I use a lightweight Osprey backpack which means I can crush a real load of luggage in my overhead compartment, especially for sun destinations. Don’t forget to ‘carry’ your luggage to cooler destinations as well; you’ll always appreciate an extra layer or two with this cool in-flight air conditioning!
Car rental has become quite prohibitive these days; I recently spent a week in California and my motor cost more than my flight and accommodation. If you have no choice but to rent a car during your trip, start by avoiding the high insurance surcharges at the office. I take out an annual policy with carhireexcess.ie. I paid €59 for annual coverage and I usually earn that on just one or two car rental trips.
With the cost of fuel these days, also be careful about the car you choose. If you’re planning longer trips, avoid renting gas guzzlers, even if they’re cheaper – and take note of the car’s MPG rating, which many companies like Hertz now list.
One of the biggest ways to go over the budget track when arriving at a new destination is to be cheated by an opportunistic taxi driver at the airport or train station. Even metered services can charge exorbitant rates these days. It often takes me a financial outlay or two to remind me to download the Uber app, but it invariably saves me a lot of time and money in the field in the long run. Note that many countries don’t offer Uber (due to various taxi regulations), so it’s worth researching their local equivalent before landing, whether it’s mytaxi, lyft or gocurb.
One of my biggest travel weaknesses is picking up cash from the ATM when I’m abroad and it’s an even bigger crime against personal finance when I use my debit card. credit to withdraw money. To avoid unnecessary (and growing) bank charges, check out An Post’s prepaid currency cards that have become a popular addition to wallets over the past year.
You simply load a currency card at your local post office and they work like cash at your travel destination without any commission charges.
Note that currency cards are only available for non-euro destinations, so consider them a great bet for travel anywhere from the US to Poland.
A great tip for saving money while on vacation can often be the four walls around you. Home exchange is becoming increasingly popular where owners can list their property for vacation rental and in turn choose a property to spend their vacations at home or abroad. Not only do you save money, but you can also live like a local at your destination property, and hosts usually leave a wealth of holiday savings options.
When booking a hotel, always search comparison sites like hotels.com and be sure to register as a registered user. They’ll give you one free night for every ten nights, which you might rack up faster than you think if you take advantage of a few weekends away each year.
Once you’ve surpassed ten stays in a year, you’ll also earn “Silver status” as a member, which could mean sweet extras like a welcome bottle of wine on arrival or extra perks like check-in and early departure. Whatever the hotel group or the website, it is important not to be too faithful to loyalty programs and to always compare the rates with the hotel’s website before booking!
Finally, don’t let your travel experience be ruled by blockbuster attractions you think you have to “do” when visiting a city. Why not head to a rooftop bar to take in the views of the London skyline rather than queuing for half a morning to climb the London Eye. In Athens, ride free to Mount Filopappou for the best views of Akropolis while in the Big Apple, take the free Staten Island Ferry for iconic views of the Statue of Liberty.